Justice Talks COVID-19 Breakout at Huttonsville with Date Theaters are Allowed to Open also Discussed

As Governor Jim Justice talked about many of the openings planned for week six of the West Virginia Strong campaign amidst COVID-19, he went into detail about the latest issue with the pandemic.

Justice talked about a breakout at the Huttonsville Correctional Facility in Randolph County. For more than a month, West Virginia was one of the few states to be able to claim its main prisons had no cases of Coronavirus. That recently changed with the recent discovery of cases among staff and detainees at the prison.

“We now have 83 confirmed positives at Huttonsville. We have tested all the staff and all the inmates and no additional positives on our staff,” said Justice.

Betsy Jividen, the Commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said more test results need to come in. She added that curtailed visitation and enhanced cleaning, along with contact tracing, is being done to mitigate the problem as best as possible.

“(The positive inmates) have been moved and separated,” said Jividen. “We’ll continue to move as additional results come in,” said Jividen.

Justice said the situation could be worse. However, he pointed to testing protocols to keep the breakout in check as best as possible.

“We didn’t have a single test that tested positive until just a few days ago … When it came to me that we were testing a block of prisoners and staff exposed to those in the block, I said no. It’s not enough and we’re going to test everyone in the whole facility,” said Justice.

Justice said the recent spike in positive COVID-19 case percentage was a result of the results of testing done at Huttonsville.

Justice started the conference in an all too familiar somber note. He talked about the state’s 74th death. The individual was a 75-year-old male from Preston County.

“When you look at our 74 from other numbers in other states, it’s really good, but from the standpoint of this great West Virginian from Preston County and his loved ones, there’s nothing good about it,” said Justice.

As for recoveries, Justice said there are 1,191 individuals that have recovered from the virus. He added there are currently 602 active cases.

As for Week 6 of the state’s reopening, Justice said on Friday, June 5 several other key areas will see openings. One of them involves an entity that could reopen in Bridgeport. On June 5, movie theaters and casinos statewide will have permission to open with guidelines that will likely soon be available.

Bridgeport is home to Cinemark, a movie theater facility at the Meadowbrook Mall. They can open June 5, but that does not mean they will open on that day. Once there is information made available by the mall, that information will be posted on Connect-Bridgeport.

Click HERE for the press release from the governor’s office on today’s press conference.